Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Hoàng Anh Gia Lai trounced Quảng Ninh Coal 5-0 in the first round match of the National Cup on Monday in Pleiku.
It was a strong comeback for the former national champions after their 0-5 loss to Hà Nội FC in the V.League last week.
The win came to Hoàng Anh Gia Lai easier than expected as Quảng Ninh had rested many of their key players on the bench.
Hoàng Anh Gia Lai players started attacking from the first whistle, and they had the opener just 10 minutes into the game.
Nguyễn Văn Toàn received a smart ball from captain Lương Xuân Trường. He left many Quảng Ninh players behind before beating goalkeeper Tuấn Linh with a straight finish.
After his assist, Trường scored a goal from a penalty kick to push the score to 2-0 at the 36th minute.
It was 4-0 for Hoàng Anh Gia Lai in the second half when Rimario netted twice before striker Nguyễn Công Phượng ended the game with a powerful fire three minutes to the end.
Coach Phan Thanh Hùng tried to make some changes, calling senior players to the field in the second half, but they also failed to score a single goal.
While Hoàng Anh Gia Lai’s coaching board was pleased with their five-star victory, Hùng was disappointed.
"We suffered a humiliating loss because we could not convert our opportunities into goals. I always considered Hoàng Anh Gia Lai a strong team with outstanding individuals. Today’s loss will be a major lesson for us," said Hùng.
"We had a good and confident start. It is a pity that we suffered an early goal loss, which totally changed our plan. It might have been different if we could have scored a goal in the first half," he said, adding that the rarefied air in the Central Highland city of Pleiku had partly contributed to his loss.
Hoàng Anh Gia Lai will next play defending champions Quảng Nam in the last 16 rounds.
In another match, Hà Nội FC wasted many threatening opportunities against Đắk Lắk leading to a goalless result in the official time. The match could only be decided after a penalty shootout, where the 4-2 win went to Hà Nội, whose goalkeeper Phí Minh Long twice denied Đắk Lắk’s kicks.
Hà Nội will see Sài Gòn FC in the next round.
In other matches, HCM City beat Đồng Tháp 1-0 and Sanna Khánh Hoà won 2-1 over Huế. — VNS